Have your say on police cash in Lincolnshire

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.  Photo by John Fieldhouse.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick. Photo by John Fieldhouse.

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Have your say

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick is urging people to comment on the future of the force, including the possibility of cutting frontline officers and PCSOs.

Mr Hardwick launched the online public consultation last Monday after he described the Government’s current funding formula for the force as ‘not fit for purpose.’

People are invited to comment on where they would like to see money from both council tax payers and central government spent.

But Mr Hardwick admitted that deciding on where resources should be focused is increasingly difficult as he attempts to “balance the books” and drive down crime rates further.

The Commissioner said: “Over the last three years, I have worked with the Chief Constable and partner agencies to do all that we can to make sure crime continues to fall.

“The Chief Constable and I have also worked tirelessly over the last year to convince the Government to reform the outdated, unfair and opaque police funding arrangements to ensure that, finally, we achieve a fair deal for Lincolnshire.

The Chief Constable and I have also worked tirelessly to convince the Government to reform the outdated and unfair police funding arrangements to ensure that we achieve a fair deal for Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick

“Thanks to our positive and productive conversations, the Government agreed to do so.

“But then, just a few weeks ago, the Minister of State announced that there would be a one-year delay in implementing the new funding arrangements. “As a result, the Government has applied - yet again - a formula they themselves acknowledge is not fit for purpose.”

Mr Hardwick admitted his reluctance to increase his share of council tax bills which he claimed was “unfair” on the people of Lincolnshire.

But the Commissioner admited that the force, together with county, district and borough councils, were facing significant funding challenges.

“I raise around 40 per cent of the costs of policing in Lincolnshire from the council tax precept,” Mr Hardwick said.

“This is above the national average and, as I have always said and the Home Affairs Select Committee agrees, this is unfair.

“I have therefore always been clear that I do not wish to place a greater burden on the taxpayers of this county.

“However, I also have a duty to maintain efficient and effective police services in Lincolnshire and must have regard for the Chief Constable’s advice about the resources he needs to keep our communities safe.

“In setting my budget, I must consider these duties alongside the level of central government grant and what it is fair to raise through the precept.”

People have until January 15 to complete the consultation which can be found at www.lincolnshire-pcc.gov.uk

The first question in the consultation is: “Around 50 per cent of the total police budget for Lincolnshire is spent on police officers.

“As the budget reduces, maintaining the current numbers of police officers is getting harder and many other police forces are having to reduce the numbers of police officers.

“However, I have looked to find budget savings elsewhere so that we can maintain police officer numbers at 1,100.

“Do you think it is right that police officer numbers should be maintained at 1,100?”

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